Nfld. & Labrador

Police investigating suspicious death, maintain presence as St. John's street reopens

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says officers responded to the area shortly after 4 a.m. on Sunday to reports of 'unknown trouble' and found a man dead.

RNC issued a 'shelter-in-place' advisory shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday

Vehicles and police tape were used to block Craigmillar Avenue in St. John’s on Sunday. (Paul Daly for CBC)

As officers investigate a suspicious death in the west end of St. John's, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says residents on Craigmillar Avenue should continue to remain in their homes.

A body was lying in the middle of Craigmillar Avenue on Sunday morning, covered by a yellow tarp.

The RNC says officers responded to the area shortly after 4 a.m. to reports of "unknown trouble" and found a man dead. 

The RNC also issued a "shelter-in-place" advisory at about 5 a.m. Sunday, notifying the public that the street would be closed until further notice.

The advisory was lifted just before 5:30 p.m. Sunday, opening the road to traffic. Police remain on the scene at the lower end of the street.

"Certainly we want to cut down on foot traffic," Const. James Cadigan said. "Public access not being permitted would assist that.… We want to make contact with residents in the area by canvassing the homes, so it would be very helpful to speak with residents at their door."

There was a heavy police presence on Craigmillar Avenue in St. John’s on Sunday. (Paul Daly for CBC)

Police tape and vehicles have been used to block the entrance to the lower end of the street. Officers were seen carrying long guns, and an ambulance was seen entering the area at about 9 a.m.

Patrol officers and the RNC's forensic identification section will remain in the area to secure the scene, canvass the neighbourhood and gather evidence.

One resident described hearing gunshots or fireworks at about 4 a.m., followed by police sirens a short time later.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary spoke with neighbours and checked back gardens and laneways in the vicinity. (Paul Daly for CBC)

Tactical and canine units arrived on the scene shortly after 10 a.m., before leaving about a half an hour later. The ambulance also left the scene as forensic officers arrived. Cadigan said the tactical units were brought in to confirm resident safety.

Police are asking people to avoid the area while the investigation continues. Police are also asking anyone who may have security or dashcam video of the area leading up to 4 a.m. to contact the RNC or Crime Stoppers.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Heather Gillis